Christine de Pisan
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Christine de Pisan with nobles

Christine de Pisan was a medieval/renaissance feminist writer. She was one of the first feminist writers of her time. Christine de Pisan was born in Venice, Italy in 1364 to Tommaso di Benvenuto da Pizanno (later changed to Pisan), who was a doctor, Counselor of the Republic of Venice, and court astrologer. After Christine's birth was appointed to the court of King Charles V of France. Here, Pisan's family name was changed from Pizanno to Pisan. Unlike most girls at the time, she was educated. She learned languages, Latin, science, philosophy, mythology, and literature

When Pisan was fifteen she married a secretary to the royal court named Etienne du Castel. With him, she had three children, a son, Jean, a daughter, Marie who went to live at the Dominican Abbey in Poissy in 1397, then another child who died early on in life. King Charles V died in 1380, thus decreasing Tommaso's and Etienne's status and income. In 1390 Pisan and her family were threatened by the French epidemic. Sadly, Pisan's father died in 1385 and in 1389, her husband was accompanying the king and died of this disease unknown to me. In this point in time with these deaths, she was almost not able to support her three kids (the third child had not died yet), mother, and niece. Etienne had only left her small sums of money, confused, she turned to writing.

Christine de Pisan had begun to gain fame at this point. She started to write poetry, songs, and ballads. While in the French court, she presented her works to the members, hoping for jewels or money. Nobles around Europe read and fancied her work. By writing these pieces she was given enough money to support her family and was no longer in poverish conditions. Many noble men and women, such as the Dukes of Burgundy, Queen Isabella of Bavaria, and King Charles VI, highly favored her work. In 1404 Pisan was assigned to write a biography of King Charles V. One year later, she wrote The Book of the City of Ladies. Then in 1405 she wrote the sequel to The Book of the City of Ladies, The Book of Three Virtues. These books explain her love of education and her plea for the education of women. Pisan wrote books clarifying her hatred on her hatred of the peace destruction of the Hundred Years’ War such as, The Book of Peace, The Book of Feats of Arms and Chivalry, and Lamentations on the Civil War, so that the French leaders would make peace with England.

In 1418 Christine de Pisan went to live in the convent of Poissy with her daughter, a nun. There, she wrote Hymn to Joan Arc in 1429, for the famous heroine disguised as a man to fight in the war. That was the only piece she wrote before her death. Christine de Pisan died ca. 1430.

Christine de Pisan lecturing monks

Christine de Pisan was a jewel. She practically kickstarted feminism as it is today. She was one of the few listened-to and learned women of her time. She went from poor to rich, from near poverty to famousness. She not only wrote books, but she was thought of as a learned and strong woman. Christine de Pisan went against the norm of her day, she earned money as an author and people knew she was female. She thirsted for rights and education. She taught men that women are not feeble and stupid (though many still thought they were). She even tried to convince France's government to make peace with England. Christine de Pisan was strongwilled and perservered until her death. She will always be remembered as an early feminist.
Christine de Pisan presenting her book to Queen Isabeau
Christine de Pisan writing

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Works consulted:
Renaissance Encyclopedia, Grolier
Life and Triumphs of Christine de Pisan
Christine de Pisan
Works Consulted